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Illinois Comptroller’s Office warns of tax scams

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(The Center Square) – Scammers pretending to be from the IRS are using tax season to con people.

Samantha Alfonso with the Illinois Comptroller’s Constituent Affairs Office warns that callers who pretend to be from the Internal Revenue Service threaten people with deportation and jail if they don’t make immediate payments using gift cards or wire transfers.

“The IRS will not call you, email you, or text you. If you do owe money, they won’t ask you to pay through a gift card or wire transfer. You will get a bill in the mail,” Alfonso said.

A new scam that the comptroller’s office is seeing this year is a letter on fake IRS stationery that promises “an unclaimed tax refund.” The letter comes in a cardboard envelope.

“Bad grammar, poor wording and fonts that don’t match the rest of the letter are signs that the letter is from a scammer,” Alfonso said.

The letters are attempts to trick people into turning over social security card numbers, driver’s license numbers and other personal information.

To track a state tax refund, use the Illinois State Comptroller website myrefund.illinoiscomptroller.gov, Alfonso said.

Be on the lookout for criminals who attempt to file fake unemployment claims using your identity, Alfonso said.

“One way to determine if your personal information is being used to make a fake claim is to check the mail for a 1099-G form, an unemployment claim, that has been made under your name,” she said.

People who have not applied for unemployment benefits but receive a 1099-G form should contact the Illinois Department of Employment Services online at ides.illinois.gov to report the fraud, Alfonso said.

Con artists phishing for personal information may send you an email or text that appears to be from the IRS. Don’t click on the text link or open the email, Alfonso warned. It may contain a malware virus.

College students and faculty members are being targeted by a new email scam. An address that uses the suffix .edu delivers a form designed to get people to fill out their personal information. It is a phishing scam.

Report unsolicited texts, emails or letters from IRS impersonators to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

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